If you are deciding whether or not to make the jump into online backup at home or for your business it can sometimes seem like a daunting task. Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be. New technology and lower costs make online backup the single best option to store your information. From family photos to sensitive business transactions, online backup makes information redundancy simple so you can focus on more important things.
Online backup offers many advantages over external hard drives, tape drives, and other deprecated backup methods. Automation is one advantage. Just about any online backup service you choose offers a software interface that automates the backup process. Instead of having to remember to manually copy files to an external drive, the software sends copies of your files to the online storage server at any interval you choose. These programs use a method known as incremental backup. This means that only new or changed information is sent to the backup server instead of making an entire copy of your hard drive every time. This saves time and bandwidth when performing a backup.
Storing your information in the cloud gives you off-site storage by default. If you are still relying on an external hard drive for storage and a natural disaster strikes you may lose all of your stored data in an instant. Online backup providers store copies of your data in multiple locations. Even if one of the data centers is damaged your information is safely stored in other locations as well. This level of redundancy cannot be implemented practically for consumers or even most business owners.
Especially relevant to businesses, online backup does not demand the IT staff that a traditional backup method commands. The best cloud storage providers have their own full time staff capable of handling any issues. Failure of a tape drive or Network Area Storage device can set a company back by days or even weeks and have a severe impact on daily business functions. Cloud-based solutions may cause a temporary delay but businesses can still function while the issue is fixed.
As society becomes more reliant on technology, the amount of data being generated by consumers and employees continues to grow exponentially. Recent studies have shown that the typical employee creates approximately 350 megabytes of data annually. This data is then shared with co-workers who also store copies of the information for later use. The result is that the average user can generate as much as 50 gigabytes of data per year (Osterman Research, 2011). The expense of storing this data locally is astronomical compared to cloud storage. Even consumers using data on their home computers are storing more data than ever before. It would take a very large external hard drive to store the contents of most home computers. External hard drives also introduce the risk of hardware failure; a phenomenon that is not applicable when using online backup providers.
Employee productivity is often improved after migrating to an online backup solution. Shared folders are easily created in the cloud which can be accessed by any number of employees. As more businesses allow employees to use smartphone, tablets, and personal laptops for network access (BYOD), these employees will have the same file access as someone sitting in the office regardless of what mobile operating system they use. This reduces strain on the IT staff and makes collaboration much easier and more productive.
The reasons to switch to an online backup solution are numerous. As both companies and consumers look to streamline spending, cloud-based storage is postured to take over the data storage arena by offering a secure, low cost solution that anyone can leverage for a better storage experience.